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Godwin, Hannibal Lafayette

3 Nov. 1873–9 June 1929

A photograph of Hannibal Lafayette Godwin, circa 1905 by Harris & Ewing. Image from the Library of Congress.Hannibal Lafayette Godwin, congressman, was born on a farm near Dunn, the son of Archibald Bryant and Rebecca Eliza Reeves Godwin. He was educated in local schools, attended Trinity College, and studied law at The University of North Carolina (1895–96). Licensed to practice in 1896, he served as mayor of Dunn for the year 1897–98, in the state senate in 1903, as Democratic presidential elector in 1904, and as a member of the state Democratic executive committee in 1904–6. Between 1907 and 1921, he served seven successive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. As a congressman Godwin demonstrated an interest in the reclamation of swamp land, river and harbor improvement, civil service reform, and Indian problems. He introduced numerous resolutions in favor of individual constituents and in support of public works in his district. As an attorney he practiced in all courts including the United States Supreme Court; he also was a farmer and dealt in real estate.

Godwin was a 32nd degree Mason, a member of the Scottish rite, and an active Methodist. In 1898 he married Mattie Block Barnes; they were the parents of Ruby, Mattie Belle (Mrs. Paul Jones), Marjorie Elizabeth (Mrs. J. O. Warren), Eloise Davis (Mrs. Murdock Dowd), Hannibal Lafayette, Jr., Hugh Archibald, and Robert Barnes. He was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Dunn.

Photograph of Mrs. Hannibal Godwin, circa 1908.  In the <i>National Magazine Vol. XXIX,</i> 1909.  From

Bio. Dir. Am. Cong. (1971).

Charlotte Observer, 10 June 1929.

John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585–1974 (1975).

Daniel L. Grant, Alumni History of the University of North Carolina (1924).

North Carolina Biography, vol. 3 (1929).

Proceedings, North Carolina Bar Association (1929).

Raleigh News and Observer, 10 June 1929.

Additional Resources:

"Godwin, Hannibal Lafayette, (1873 - 1929)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed December 13, 2013).

Godwin, Hannibal L. 1908. Reclamation of swamp lands in North Carolina: speech of Hon. Hannibal L. Godwin of North Carolina in the House of Representatives Wednesday, March 25, 1908. Washington: [U.S. G.P.O.?]. (accessed December 16, 2013).

February 1993, by Byrd, Evelyn. "HANNIBAL LAFAYETTE GODWIN November 3, 1873 -June 9, 1929." Extension Homemakers Historical Quilt, Friends of the Harnett County Library.

Image Credits:

Harris & Ewing. "GODWIN, H.L. HONORABLE". Photograph. Circa 1905. Harris & Ewing Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, The Library of Congress. (accessed December 16, 2013).

"Mrs. H. L. Godwin, Wife of Representative Godwin of North Carolina." Photograph. National Magazine 29, no. 5 (February 1909). 462. (accessed December 16, 2013).

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